Department store group Debenhams has reported like-for-like sales down 5% in a trading update on full-year 2007, as the company finds its way through store refurbishments.

Total sales for the 52 weeks ended 1 September increased by 5.1% compared to the prior year.

The company said it had experienced some "inevitable disruption" from the acceleration of its refurbishment programme. In total, two stores were impacted by a refit during the first half compared to 19 during the second.
 
Debenhams expects to report profit before tax and exceptional items next month in line with market forecasts of around GBP130m.
 
Two new department stores and four new Desire stores have been opened over the past year, Debenhams said.

The retailer's store portfolio now consists of 133 department stores and nine Desire stores trading from 10.3m square feet of space across the UK and Republic of Ireland. It also has 34 international stores, an increase of four from last year.
  
Rob Templeman, chief executive, said: "Macro economic factors suggest that the retail environment will be more challenging in the short term, nonetheless we believe that the actions we have implemented across the business position us well for the new financial year.

"We have focused on delivering greater value to our customers, improving still further our quality and design content. We have invested selectively in price. This has proved effective, particularly in men's wear where we have seen improving momentum in our market share."